Brammo came by MotoCorsa to give the crew some demo rides on their electric motorcycles- namely the Brammo Empulse R. (Don’t mind the censored jacket blurryness- I couldn’t very well show you Icon’s Spring 2013 line this early, now could I?!)
What is the difference between this bike and other electric rides of a similar form? Well, this one is a six speed… and it can do over 100 MPH.
The Brammo Empulse electric motorcycle has a six speed gearbox with multi-plate hydraulic clutch. It weighs 470 pounds (213kg) with a 31.5” seat height and has just over seven inches of ground clearance. After riding it the only thing I can think is… THIS IS THE PERFECT NINJA URBAN ASSAULT TWO-WHEELED VEHICLE.
Super quiet, maneuverable… AND fast? Yes please.
I will say that the visceral experience of riding a motorcycle as I know it is one that I, and other motorcyclists like me, must overcome when mounting the Empulse. You have to get used to the fact that once the bike is on and ready, twisting the throttle will move it forward. End of story. Then again, there’s no real reason to rev the thing (no fun sounds to show off, no engine warming up to do) so it’s just a matter of getting used to it.
After you take off, you’ll notice that first gear has you covered all the way until about 50 MPH. Shifting feels nice- like a hat tip to classic motorcycling as we are all accustomed.
I won’t lie- driving through a tunnel at 55 MPH and being able to hear Hannah yelling, and my own laughter was a trip for sure. But on the other hand, the quiet is actually really nice. I could tell Hannah she left her blinker on from about 15 feet back- and she could hear me burst into laughter when she got hit in the face by a giant maple leaf. While the effect of a vibrating engine between you and the road gives you a certain feeling of power, the lack of anything overpowering the feedback from the road has a certain je ne sais quoi.
While I didn’t get to hit any twisties hard enough to really push it (being stuck behind a schoolbus and cars most the test ride) it was surprisingly agile and smooth in corners, even when I pounded the throttle a bit going through a turn.
At low speeds the twist-and-go throttle takes some getting used to. No clutch necessary for use means you can’t give it some feather at low speeds through traffic. This is both great for your finger fatigue and awkward for some maneuvering as I’ve learned on a motorcycle.
All in all this was a fun, zippy little motorcycle that would be good for even entry level motorcyclists or those who like the idea of saving a ton of money on gas. It would make a great commuter- one that you wouldn’t mind taking the long way home with.
Read more about Brammo electric motorcycles on Brammo.com ◙